In 1968 George Harrison found Studio 1 at Abbey Road empty and began writing what would become what Frank Sinatra called, 'the best love song of the last 50 years'.
George envisioned Ray Charles singing it, and was taken by the simplicity of the melody as he recalls;[Interview]
There is some difference of opinion about the inspiration for the song. Common belief is that it was written for his wife at the time; Patti Boyd [Interview]
George corroborates this in 1969 interview [Interview]
But in a 1988 interview George denied his own 1969 recollection saying it was not about her, ‘I just wrote it then someone put a video together with us and the Beatle wives and story was born’.
The passage of time may have changed his own opinion considering that he and Patti unhappily split in 1974.
In any case the inspiration for at least the first line of the lyric surely was a James Taylor song called Something In The Way She Moves which Taylor was recording at Trident studios on the same day that George was there to record Savoy Truffle for the White Album.
On Feb 25,1969, his 26th birthday George booked time alone at Abbey Road studio to record the demo for Something. Here is an excerpt from that demo;
Proper recording of the song began at Abbey Road on April 16 with Paul on Bass, Ringo on Drums, George on Guitar and Producer George Martin on Piano. But these tracks were not used and a new basic track was recorded on May 2, this time with John on piano. After many tape reductions and overdubs the final mix was attempted on August 15, 1969. Because they had run out of tracks, George was forced to play his Leslied guitar solo in one take along with the orchestra at the same time that the song was being mixed to it’s stereo master. It was a hectic day for George as he shuttled between studio one with the orchestra and the studio two control room to preside over mixing. George's beautiful new song was completed on that day.
Something was released as a single on Oct 6, 1969. It was the First A side for George Harrison as a Beatle and along with Come Together on the B side reached #1 on the Billboard charts on Nov 29.
Something is also the second most covered Beatles song behind Paul’s Yesterday with over 150 cover versions.
This Is Susan Kreutzer for the Beatles, Song By Song.